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The USA’s iniquities & failures

The USA’s iniquities & failures

Asif Haroon Raja

Pakistan’s history of the US sanctions

Pakistan was touted as the most allied ally of the US but practically it was not since it was the most sanctioned country. The US unjustly imposed sanctions on Pakistan during the 1965 war with India and the 1971 crisis in East Pakistan. In early 1979, the US President Jimmy Carter imposed sanctions on Pakistan suspecting that it was secretly developing a nuclear weapon. Sanctions were removed by Ronald Reagan in June 1981 after he decided to support the holy war against the Soviet forces occupying Afghanistan. He doled out a hefty package of $ 3.5 billion to the military regime of Gen Ziaul Haq and also ignored Pakistan’s manufacture of the bomb in the basement. From 1990 till Sept 2001 Pakistan was once again sanctioned by the US on the plea that it was building an Islamic bomb. Another set of sanctions were levied in May 1998 after Pakistan’s tit-for-tat response to India’s nuclear tests.  

Marriage of convenience

After 9/11, the US befriended Pakistan, lifted the sanctions and promised military and economic assistance in order to achieve its short term objective of occupying Afghanistan. In actuality, it was a marriage of convenience since Pakistan was marked as a target by a host of countries – USA, Israel, India, NATO, and the puppet regime in Kabul. Their six intelligence agencies – CIA, Mossad, RAW, MI-6, BND and NDS sat under one roof in Kabul and hatched conspiracies to make Pakistan a compliant state. RAW assisted by the NDS pioneered the proxy war to destabilize Pakistan. A large number of proxies from within Pakistan were cultivated, moles planted, a large number of NGOs and think tanks deployed and Pakistani media purchased to wage a hybrid war.

Appeasement

The predators succeeded in bleeding Pakistan due to defensive policy and apologetic stance of our leaders. They had to extend a hand of friendship to India and the two US installed regimes in Kabul, highly antipathetic to Pakistan, and involved in biggest covert war ever launched against any country.

Pakistan made no change in its external policy even after the evil designs of the enemies disguised as friends were exposed. Our leaders kept doing more till as late as mid-2017.

Pakistan Army & ISI’s accomplishments

Irrespective of the moral failings of our political leaders, the Pak Army and the ISI safeguarded the integrity and sovereignty of the country superbly. Not only were the conspiracies of six hostile agencies blunted effectively by the ISI, tens of hundreds of attacks were thwarted before they could be executed. All the foreign paid proxies were flushed out of former FATA in 2015. Cleansing of their sleeping cells, handlers and facilitators is going on through Raddul Fasad. There was a time when 3 to 6 terror attacks took place in one day, but now the scale has been reduced substantially.

Another feat which Pakistan has achieved is the erection of double-layer fence along the 2611 km western border to checkmate illegal infiltration. The fence has been beefed up with tower watches, fortified posts at regular intervals, patrolling and effective border management. Its usefulness was seen in the current testing times when the possibility of another influx of Afghan refugees had become a probability.   

The USA’s iniquities

After 9/11, the US listed the freedom movements by the Muslims, and the so-called radical groups in the Muslim countries in the loop of new laws on terrorism and abetment to terrorism but excluded non-Muslims without giving any logical reason. In fact the word terrorism coined by the US was never defined, but any country/group/individual not falling in line was blacklisted.

After forcing Pakistan to cut off relations with Mullah Omar led Taliban regime in Sept 2001, and to provide military bases for invading and occupying Afghanistan, Pakistan was deceitfully made a coalition partner of the US-NATO to fight the Global War on Terror as a frontline State. The real motive was to weaken Pakistan so that its nuclear teeth could be extracted.

India didn’t join the club of 48 countries to curb terrorism in Afghanistan, and yet the US chose to make it the central actor in Afghanistan with which it didn’t share boundary, culture or religion. It was given importance since it was willing to undermine Pakistan through terrorism from the Afghan soil.

Pakistan was wrongfully accused, affronted and punished for its uncommitted crimes, but India against whom Pakistan provided tons of concrete evidence of cross border terrorism was never advised or admonished to refrain from immoral practices. Instead, it was richly rewarded for its committed crimes.

Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani (AG) regimes in Kabul, and the NDS were partners in crimes and were also heaped with endowments.

Throughout the 20-year war, the US hypocritically pretended to be a friend, but distrusted Pakistan and branded it as a double-dealer, not realizing that the US couldn’t have waged the longest war without the two NATO supply routes from Torkham and Chaman.   

Washington kept up the pressure on Islamabad by making it ‘Do More’ and never got satisfied, and felt no remorse in levelling unsubstantiated allegations of Pakistan’s complicity with the anti-US terrorist groups.

Pakistan was the only country which defeated terrorism on its soil but suffered the most at the hands of proxies funded, trained and equipped by RAW-NDS and mothered by CIA.

In 2017, when Pakistan said it will not do any more and it was time for others to do more, the swords of the IMF and the FATF were hung over its head and it was once again forced to do more.

India has been violating the FATF rules regarding money laundering, financial terrorism, state terrorism against own minorities as well as against Pakistan at a huge scale. It should have been blacklisted, but it remains white while Pakistan remains in the grey list since 2018 despite meeting 26 of its 27 demands.

India’s defence minister Jaishankar unashamedly disclosed that India was instrumental in keeping Pakistan in the grey list of the FATF. His disclosure proved that the FATF is a politically motivated compromised outfit misused by India and the US.   

India is among the top three countries including the US and Brazil with heaviest Corona infected and death cases while Pakistan’s efforts in keeping the 1st and 2nd waves of Covid-19 in check was praised by the world bodies. Yet the UK put Pakistan in the ‘Red’ list and India was excluded.

The US dismal failures

It was owing to the wicked designs and duplicitous standards of morality practiced by the USA that it lost respect, prestige and honor and suffered a financial loss of $ 2.3 trillion dollars without achieving any of its objectives in Afghanistan. $85 billion worth sophisticated weapons & defence equipment was left behind for use by the Taliban, while five top US defence contractors made huge profits and are the winners.

Except for cosmetic improvements, Afghanistan today is worse than what it was in 2001. Had there been an improvement, the Taliban couldn’t have made a comeback.   

The US couldn’t stop the Afghan Taliban from entering Kabul on August 15, 2021 and its forces had to exit in haste by Aug 31 since the Taliban had the support of the people.

Al-Qaeda was one entity in 2001, and now it has six factions and has a global agenda of change.

The US couldn’t contain the phenomenal economic growth of China, now well-poised to fill the power vacuum in Afghanistan.  

The US failed to checkmate the resurgence of Russia, or to tame Iran.

In concert with India, the US intended to denuclearize and balkanize Pakistan into four parts, but couldn’t and today Pakistan is militarily much stronger and vibrant.

In violation of the Doha agreement, the US air force provided air support to the beleaguered ANA after the deadline of May 1. When nothing could be achieved, the US tried to stir chaos at the Kabul airport which remained under its control till Aug 31. 

The Taliban on the other hand abided by the Doha agreement, and didn’t strike any target of the foreign troops. Even then, the US slyly held them responsible for the violence and the western media demonized them by circulating fake stories.

Instead of pulling the ears of string-puppet AG to resign and pave the way for an interim setup, the US pressured Pakistan to force the victorious Taliban to accept the unpopular AG as the president and share power.

Rather than being thankful to the Taliban for letting the bulk of the troops exit safely, the US tried to deny the fruits of victory to them.

Liabilities

India proved to be a liability for the USA since it could neither contain China’s growth as an economic power, nor it could face its military power in the clash in the Himalayas, or could suppress freedom movement in J&K.

Likewise, it couldn’t destabilize Pakistan, or help the US and the ANA in combating the surging Taliban. It hastily dismantled its terror infrastructure and consulates in Afghanistan where it has now become an outcast and it’s over $20 billion projects are in jeopardy.

The 300,000 strong well-trained, well-equipped, well-paid and well-fed ANDSF on whom the US had spent $ 1.3 trillion proved to be a big liability for the US. The huge force opposing rag-tag 70,000 foot soldiers collapsed like a house of cards in the face of the lightning offensive of the Taliban.

After Kabul was surrounded by the Taliban fighters on Aug 14, AG fled to UAE on the afternoon of Aug 15 and the ANA bolted. The Taliban fighters had to step in peacefully to fill up the administrative and security vacuums.

Amrullah Saleh and Ahmed Zia Massoud based in the tiny enclave of Panjsher claiming to lead the resistance movement, are possibly backed by external powers. The so-called movement would soon fizzle out due to unfavorable circumstances.    

Inconsistent stances

The whole world including Pakistan had stood behind the US in Oct 2001 to decimate Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. No stone was left unturned to implement the military strategy based on brute force. No eyebrow was raised over the massive use of tomahawk cruise missiles, B-52 stealth bombers, daisy cutters killing mostly the civilians.

No objections were made on granting immunity to the invaders and opening of torture dens including ghastly Guantanamo Bay or the savagery of Northern Alliance warlords inflicted upon the captives.

The world and the UN vehemently opposed the Iraqi adventure in March 2003, but the US paid no heed and destroyed Iraq and that too on fake charges. No complaints were made over the instigation of sectarian war in Iraq and later stretching the war to Libya, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Somalia and Sudan. None has been made accountable for destroying eight Muslim countries and killing 11 million Muslims and displacing millions.      

Once the Taliban encircled Kabul on Aug 14 after capturing all the provincial capitals, the victorious Taliban paid heed to the counsels and neither captured Kabul forcibly, nor they showed inclinations to form an exclusive regime in disregard of the sentiments of the international community and multiple Afghan ethnic minorities. They pardoned all and sundry and there is no talk of trial and punishment.

Despite their changed outlook and humane demeanor, they were repeatedly counselled to refrain from violence, opt for peaceful transfer of power, and not to violate human and women rights. Urban Afghans who had served the occupiers loyally were invited to reach Kabul airport for their safe passage to the USA. Cloak of a saint was worn by the Satan to minimize the negative impact of disgrace it suffered, but this drama also boomeranged on account of a suicide attack by Daesh-K on Aug 25 causing deaths to 175 Afghans and 13 US  Marines.  

Tongue-in-cheek

Finding that the whirlwind offensive of the Taliban was unstoppable and soon they would reach the gates of Kabul, the US with tongue-in-cheek warned them to resolve the tangle politically and not through use of force, and that forcible capture of Kabul or takeover of power will be unacceptable to the international community. The latter (less Russia, China and Iran), hastened to join the rock band of hypocrites.   

While counselling them not to resort to violent practices, and not to re-establish Islamic Emirate by force, the US forgot that the Taliban regime was forcibly toppled in 2001, a puppet regime installed through sham election, an alien constitution imposed, the occupied country was ruled with an iron hand under the barrel of the gun and human rights, international laws were grossly violated and the ISAF soldiers given a license to kill, maim and torture without accountability. They also ignored that whichever region captured by the Taliban was free from reprisals and crimes, and on Aug 16 general amnesty was announced. 

In the backdrop of differing responses of the USA and the Taliban at the height of their glory, the US led west is still branded as civilized and champions of human rights, and the Taliban uncivilized, uncouth and barbarians. In spite of their positive soundbites, Taliban haters say it is too early to draw conclusions.

End of longest war

America’s longest war was officially terminated by the US CentCom Commander Gen Mckenzie on Aug 30. Since Aug 14, 2021, 123,000 people including 6000 Americans were airlifted from Kabul airport. After the departure of the last batch of occupation forces, the Afghans enthusiastically celebrated the independence of their country.

Ironically, the last group of the 8000 US-NATO troops and American nationals airlifted on Aug 30 had to seek a night transit in Islamabad, the most distrusted and abhorred country, instead of the most favored India or any of its airbases in the Arab Gulf States.

The Taliban took control of the security of Kabul airport on the night of Aug 31 and in the next 2-3 days they are expected to set up an inclusive government.  

Takeover of power by the Taliban in Kabul will augur well for the Af-Pak region. Pakistan is looking forward to a safe western border.     

Will lessons be learnt?

Will the USA learn lessons after the great debacle, or its Military Industrial Complex would continue to resort to military adventures in search of greater profits? In my reckoning, until and unless the ones involved in war crimes are put on trial before the ICC and punished, imperialism will not die down in the USA; nor its habit of retributions and interventionism. The Taliban’s $ 9.5 billion in the US central bank remains frozen; amounts required to be released by the World Bank and the IMF for various projects are suspended; hints of sanctions given if the Taliban refuse to cooperate. Daesh-K created in 2015 will possibly be supported by CIA-RAW as can be deciphered from Gen McKenzie statement: “I believe the Taliban are going to have their hands full with Daesh-K”.   

Will the Taliban learn lessons from their mistakes committed during their first tenure from 1996 to 2001 during which they were isolated by the international community and put under sanctions due to their obscurantism and radical behavior, and then toppled, chased and persecuted for two decades? Chances are that they will stand by their commitments by presenting themselves as reformed Taliban, wishing to make the war torn country peaceful and prosperous.

Unlike the past, this time both the Taliban and Iran are moving on the path of conciliation, accommodation and cooperation.  

India will neither learn lessons nor will change its deceitful and injurious posture towards Pakistan and will find new ways to harm its archrival.         

The writer is retired Brig Gen, war veteran, defence & security analyst, international columnist, author of five books, Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre, Member CWC PESS & Think Tank. asifharoonraja@gmail.com    

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Public TV Pakistan Video-Absolutely Not! No bases to the US for operations in Afghanistan | PM Imran Khan

Pakistan's PM Imran Khan has vowed to challenge India's decision on Kashmir at the UN Security Council

Pakistan’s hero and most loved Prime Minister

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Geostrategy : Nuclear Pakistan: Hot-Headed or Rational?  Syed Ali Zia Jaffery

Geostrategy

Nuclear Pakistan: Hot-Headed or Rational?

Kenneth Waltz”The spread of nuclear weapons: more may be better.”

The essence of the Westphalian state system lies in the concept of territorial sovereignty. Inherent in the sanctity of the mainland is the need for national security. This has become an indispensable vital national interest of all states. The colossal damage caused by the atom bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki bears testimony to the annihilation capacity of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs). However, there is a lot more to the use of the “deadly” nukes.

The veritable value of going nuclear can be gauged in the hostile Indo-Pak theatre. The partition of the Indian Subcontinent saw the emergence of this intense rivalry from the very outset. The reasons are well documented and even a cursory look at them would enable students and observers to decipher the anatomy of adversarial ties. Both states grappled with their perceived and actual fears, and to withstand threats to their interests embroiled in armament, both conventional and nuclear. The need for treading on the nuclear path was different for both countries.

It is imperative to briefly differentiate between the reasons for both South Asian titans going nuclear. India’s gargantuan foreign policy goals and security thinking shaped by long-held misgivings shaped her nuclear ambitions. Pakistan, on the other hand, faced with a quantitatively superior eastern neighbor, which was instrumental in its dismemberment, had to look for “internal balancing”. Indeed, the growing conventional asymmetry necessitated Islamabad to bear its own teeth.

Pakistan was left with no choice but to induct a force equalizer to deter India from any military misadventure. Hence, Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine and the development of a cohesive nuclear force are intended to ward-off threats emanating from India. In all earnestness, Pakistan’s nuclear incursions are solely India centric.

This assertion can be corroborated by the fact that Pakistan maintains the doctrine of Credible Minimum Deterrence (CMD). The idea behind CMD is that an enemy larger in size can be dissuaded with small but a credible nuclear force. The doctrine is well-suited to Pakistan’s evident limitations.

Pakistan’s persistence with CMD has been effective in averting wars and also the “nuclear bogey” among other factors, ensured that low-intensity conflicts did not escalate into a full-scale war. The Kargil conflagration is perhaps a classic case of how the knowledge of the “nuclear possession” kept the conflict limited to a series of tactical skirmishes.

Pessimists opine that deterrence theory failed when both locked horns over strategically vital peaks. However, it must be stressed that a 1965-like escalation was avoided, with the help of international intervention because both India and Pakistan had a nuclear device in their caches.

Nuclear capabilities do not rule out the occurrence of low-intensity conflicts, for they bring about a stability-instability paradox, wherein things remain stable at the higher end of the conflict spectrum. One could argue that nuclear weapons provided both states with a cushion to wrest control of Kargil through tactical engagements, but it also acted as an equalizer, which baulked nefarious designs. During the whole episode, the nuclear umbrella gave Pakistan much-needed psychological security as she felt less vulnerable to a 1971-like Indian onslaught. The events of 1971 were monumental in shaping Pakistan’s nuclear campaign.

International pressure prevailed on two other occasions. The first was in wake of Operation Parakram when after the parliament attacks, India amassed its forces on the International Border. Warmongering did not result in any physical engagement after the Mumbai attacks in 2008.

The success of “Nuclear Pakistan” in preventing a full-scale war can be evidenced by the fact that the incendiary forces which caused previous wars and battles still persist. To-date there are opportunities akin to those present in 1971 for India to capitalize upon. Moreover, if accusations are to be believed there exists a pre-1965 war situation. Indeed, the possession of an assured nuclear capability has changed the type of threat emanating from the eastern flank. The ongoing non-kinetic war must and cannot be labelled as a failure of deterrence theory, for Pakistan’s nuclear posture is intended to make the pursuance of a military option untenable for India to use against Pakistan.

Press Release

Rawalpindi- February 13 2017

Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Strategic Plans Division today. He was received by Director General Strategic Plans Division, Lieutenant General Mazher Jamil and was given detailed briefing regarding various facets of Pakistan’s Strategic Programme.

COAS underlined the centrality of Pakistan’s Strategic Programme against a specific threat to our security. COAS lauded the efforts of Scientists and Engineers involved in the development programmes, which made Pakistan’s defence formidable. He highly appreciated operational preparedness and training standards of the Strategic Forces. He particularly expressed satisfaction on the comprehensive security regime of SPD.

STRATEGIC  PLANS DIVISION

Image result for pakistan strategic plans division

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pakistan officially maintains that it does not aim to attain nuclear parity with India and will continue with the Minimum Credible Deterrence. Minimum is not a number but refers to the acquisition of no more nuclear weapons than necessary to deter the adversary from launching a nuclear attack. Thus the word “minimum” is relative at best and hence Pakistan has to monitor and evaluate the developments across the border. The question that one needs to answer is whether Pakistan’s increasing stockpile is a rational policy? Is there a need to bolster means of second-strike and inducting long-range ballistic missiles in the scheme of things?

First, the development of a second-strike capability is central to deterrence. India, with a well developed second/counter strike capability and a greater geographical depth, had the propensity to withstand a surprise or a pre-emptive strike from Pakistan. However, Pakistan bereft of the very advantages would not have been able to thwart a retaliation. Thus, the addition of an assured second-strike capability is imperative to make deterrence credible. Second, the need for modernizing delivery systems is all the more important because of deterrence hooks upon the ability to make the enemy aware of the ability and the willingness to use the device if and when the need arises.

Eyebrows have been raised regarding two aspects of Pakistan’s nuclear program. One is the growth in the number of warheads whilst the other is concerned with the design of Tactical Nuclear Weapons.

As aforementioned, deterrence is more effective when a country has adequate second-strike prowess.The number game hence becomes all the more important especially given the threats posed to CMD by India’s ever-increasing economic and technological muscle. Second-strike elicits its strength of the “residual” capacity hence Pakistan can feel relatively safer by the mere accumulation of warheads before making them more credible. The quantum has gained currency especially after India’s deployment of the Ballistic Missile Defense System. Albeit in a rudimentary stage, the likelihood of intercepting Pakistan’s main delivery vehicles can greatly undermine the efficacy of Credible Minimum Deterrence. India’s BMD is likely to undermine Pakistan’s retaliatory capacity but a greater amount of warheads can reduce the precision of India’s Ballistic Missile Defense.

In sum, India’s grandiose aspirations and the initiatives taken to augment her military muscle, coupled with Pakistan’s limitations necessitate the latter to add to its deterrence value. This is being rightly done by not only focusing on credibility and survivability but also on the quantum of warheads. This is in-line with Pakistan’s quest to provide for her own security in an environment dictated by anarchy and self-help. Perhaps, it is pertinent to quote Waltz once more amidst doubts about the perils of a “Nuclear Pakistan”.

“If a country has nuclear weapons, it will not be attacked militarily in ways that threaten its manifestly vital interests. That is 100 percent true, without exception, over a period of more than fifty years.”

Reference

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China, Saudi Arabia and the US: Shake Up and Shake Down By James Petras

China, Saudi Arabia and the US: Shake Up and Shake Down

By James Petras

December 09, 2017

Significant changes are roiling the states, societies and ruling classes of the most prominent industrial economies, oil regimes and military complexes.

China is re-allocating its economic wealth toward building the most extensive modern infrastructure system in history, linking four continents.

Saudi Arabia is transferring a trillion dollars of pillage from princes to princes, from old business parasites to up-to-date versions, from austere desert mirages to fantasies of new mega-cities.

The United States is emptying the swamp of the Capital’s corruption and immediately replenishing it with the scandal of the day.

One Cabinet Secretary is fired; another Secretary is hired; one enemy embraced; an ally denounced; the stock market flourishes and trade agreements abandoned. One tax is sliced and pleases the powerful; another is spliced and chokes the consumers.

Turmoil, some would say; chaos, others would claim. And the stouthearted argue that’s the way the world turns around.

But for all the world’s current ‘shaking’, there is substance and direction: There are models for the shaking-up and paradigms for the shaking down.

Shaking up’ occurs where visions of wealth and prosperity accompany science and discovery.

Shaking down’ is where the science of palace coups and the art of bloody intrigues fleece the poor while enriching and amusing the powerful.

The Art and Artist of the Shake Down

The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), pursues a new policy of scientific, systematic, large-scale and long-term shakedown (SD). Science is evident in these procedures, in their rigorous identification of targets and their efficient methodology of securing subjects and achieving success.

MBS and his associates launched their policy of SD in several well-planned stages.

First, they cloaked the entire SD operation as part of the vast transformation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Followed by a string of Western buzzwords: modernisation of a traditional society; cleansing the suites of corruption; diversifying the oil-dependent economy; privatizing ARAMCO, and replacing camels and tents with a state-of-the-art megacity in the desert.

MBS thus moved to seize state power as the final act in operation starting with a wave of shakedowns.

The several Princess-in-waiting experienced the initial shakedown.

In an orderly fashion, MBS wielded his royal sword on behalf of righteousness (according to his adoring fans in the Western press, like Thomas Friedman): Scores of corrupt princes and hundreds of the business and military elite the (or abducted for ransom . . . and safekeeping).

The ‘shakedown’ was underway, but the captives like in the circumstances worthy of their status. The abduction, imprisonment and plea-bargaining for ransom and release took place in the 5-star Riyadh Ritz-Hilton.

The MBS meritocratic modernizers (MM) held the highest degrees in finance and accounting and were adept at calculating appropriate ransoms from every captive. The MM demanded hundreds of millions from the billionaires while the generals settled for an early retirement, stripped of pensions and commands. Upon payment and release, the newly fleeced Saudi Princelings fled to the brothels of Beirut to receive un-brotherly comfort. They were freed on one condition: They would return some of the Kingdom’s pillage to fund a ‘New Class’ in a ‘New Arabia’ under the Crown Prince MBS.

However, Western investors, who quietly kept their snouts in the ‘traditional trough’ of Saudi wealth, striptease not sure where they stood with MBS and his meritocratic modernizers. They needed to know, for the sake of their stockholders: Were they victims or beneficiaries of the big shakedown? Were they condemned to suffer among the corrupt billionaires or granted entry into the new realm of the noble Prince?

MBS may have carried out the most extensive shakedown in recent times, in the name of justice, but there are still no signs of a diversified, modern and prosperous society arising on the Arabian Peninsula. In some places, there rose a more diverse variety of shakedown artists and plotters: Many, who applaud the Crown Prince, await their share of the loot. In other parts of the peninsula, MBS continues to deliver famine, cholera and desperation and rain down bombs on the people of Yemen. If Israel could turn the remnant of Palestine into an open-air prison for periodic slaughter, MBS could find his own ‘Palestinians’ in Yemen for target practice.

China: The Shake Up

China is in the throes of one, two, many upheavals: Over one million high and low ranking officials and millionaires, who levied their own ‘private tax’ on the public treasury, will celebrate another Chinese New Year – in jail.

Meanwhile, over 25 billion dollars has been spent on innovative high tech projects, reshaping the economy, reducing pollution and expanding the welfare state.

Over one trillion dollars is being spent on huge global infrastructure projects linking China to four continents in an integrated network of trade – The One Road-One Belt Network.

China is the polar-opposite of Saudi Arabia: In place of state-sponsored ransom and blackmail (the ‘shakedown’), China is experiencing a monumental ‘shake-up’ – spending money in multiple directions. There are overseas projects to promote trade relations; upward projects linking business to high technology and higher profits; downward projects to train and expand the skilled labour force, reduce pollution, increase social welfare, save lives and increase productivity.

Unlike the US, China has nourished its manufacturing sector, and not starved it of investment. The average factory in the US is twice as old as those in China. To even dream of catching up with Chinese production, the US would have to invest over $115 billion a year in manufacturing for the next three decades.

Limited access to investment capital will condemn the tens of thousands of small and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises in the US with low productivity and reduced exports.

In contrast, the Chinese government directs investment capital widely to manufacturers of all sizes and shapes. Moreover, local Chinese manufacturers connect readily to the supply chain with big exporters. China provides clear incentives to exporters to work with local suppliers to ensure that profits are re-invested in the home market.

In the US, the multinational suppliers are in other out of countries and their earnings are hoarded overseas. US profits are ploughed into buybacks of shares and dividends for the stockholders —not into new production.

Beijing manages debt, raising and limiting it to promote dynamic development with a level of efficiency unmatched in the US.

China keeps a close eye on excessive debt, speculation and investment, in contrast to the unrestrained chaos of the so-called ‘free market’ of the US and its parasitical allies, the Saudi coupon–clipping shakedown artists.

The US: The Political Economy of Scandalous Conspiracies and ‘Flight Capitalism’

US politics control the nation’s economy under total manipulative control scandalmongers, conspirators and flight capitalists. Instead of preparing an economic plan to ‘make America great again’, they have embraced the political blackmailers and intriguers of Saudi Arabia in a sui-generis global political alliance. Both countries feature purges, resignations and pugnacious politicos weaned from the destructive bosom of war.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a point of history, the United States didn’t start out as a bloated, speculative state of crony capitalists and parasitical allies: The US was once a dominant industrial country, harnessing finance and overseas investments to securing raw materials for domestic industries and directing profits back into the industrial sector for higher productivity.

Fake, or semi-fake, political rivalries and electoral competition counted little as incumbents retained their positions most of the time, and bi-partisan agreements ensured stability through sharing the spoils of office.

Things have changed. Overseas neo-colonies started to offer more than just raw materials: They introduced low-tax manufacturing sites promising free access to cheap, healthy and educated workers. US manufacturers abandoned Old Glory, invested overseas, hoarded profits in tax havens and happily evaded paying taxes to fund a new economy for displaced US workers. Simultaneously, finance reversed its relation to industry: Industrial capital was now harnessed to finance, speculation, real estate, insurance sectors and electronic gadgets/play-by-yourself ‘i-phones’ promoting isolated ‘selfies’ and idle chatter.

Wall Street, Silicon Valley and Hollywood replaced Detroit, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Chicago. Stockbrokers proliferated, while master tool-and-die makers disappeared and workers’ children overdosed on ‘Oxy’.

In the transition, politicians, who had no connection to domestic industry, found a compelling niche promoting overseas wars for allies, like Saudi Arabia and Israel, and disseminating internal spats, intrigues and conspiracies to the voters. Vietnam and Watergate, Afghanistan and Volker, Iran-Contra and Reaganomics, Yugoslavia and Iraq, daily drone strikes and bombings and Bill Clinton’s White House sex scandals giving salacious birth to special prosecutors.

In this historic transformation, American political culture put on a new face: perpetual wars, Wall Street swindles and Washington scandals. It culminated in the farcical Hillary Clinton – Donald Trump presidential election campaign: the war goddess-cuckquean of chaos versus the crotch-grabbing real-estate conman.

The public heard Secretary of State Clinton’s maniacal laugh upon her viewing the ‘snuff-film’ torture and slaughter of the wounded Libya’s President Gadhafi: She crowed: ‘We came, we saw…and he died’ with a sword up his backside. This defined the Clinton doctrine in foreign affairs, while slaughter of the welfare state and the bloated prison industry would define her domestic agenda.

Trump’s presidential election campaign went about the country pleasuring the business and finance elite (promises of tax cuts, deregulations, re-contamination and jacking up the earth’s temperature with a handful of jobs), and successfully pushed aside the outrage over his crude rump grabbing boasts.

Wars, Wall Street, Silicon Valley and Hollywood all gathered to set the parameters of the United States’ political economy: The chase was on!

The Clinton sleuths uncovered an army of Russian conspirators running Trump’s electoral campaign, writing his speeches, typing his ‘Tweets’, designing his tactics and successfully directing the votes of millions of duped ‘deplorables’ – the rural and rust-belt poor.

The entire media world auto-pleasured their friends and allies with the Trump Administration’s political striptease, shedding appointees, dumping nominees and misdirecting policies with a string of revelations. According to dubious anecdotes, the Special Prosecutor uncovered Russian conspiracies to enlist Salvation Army bell ringers and Washington lobbyists. The ‘deplorables’meanwhile tuned out in disgust.

Trump retaliated with midnight Tweets and appointed a clutch of retired Generals, who had been battle-seasoned in Obama’s seven losing wars and even found a loudmouth South Carolina belle to evoke visions of mushroom clouds in the United Nations. Naturally, there was the coterie of Zionist advisers from the ‘think tanks’ and from his own family working double time to set US-Middle East policy on the road to new wars.

Trump’s Generals and Zionists on the one hand and the Democrats, liberals, anti-fascists and leftists formed the ‘resistance,’ and fought fiercely for freedom.  Freedom to direct the state to censor alternative news or informed discussion debunking the canard about Russian meddling, exposing Ukraine’s land grabs, proving Iran’s compliance to the nuclear deal and Tel Aviv’s baseless warnings about Tehran. Bolstered by President’s Chief Advisor Son-in-Law, Jared Kushner, Saudi Crown Prince gets praise for kidnapping the Lebanese Prime Minister and forcing his resignation. Every day there was a new scandal, conspiracy upon conspiracy and, of course, fake news blaring out from all sides of corporate media and NPR.

The threat of war spreads across the Middle East: How many families would the unholy trinity of Saudi Arabia-US-Israel slaughter, starve or incarcerate in Yemen, Palestine, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan? Drowned out by domestic scandals and conspiracies – this carnage did not happen – in the news. While scores of thousands in Yemen suffered from cholera amidst a brutal Saudi blockade, The Washington Post – NY Times CBS-NBC-ABC published the same front-page photo of Trump’s awkward handshake at the APEC Conference. At least, the trillion-dollar corporate-oligarch tax cut merited a jolly Tweet from the Donald.

The Big Shakedown is all about the deceptions and the sex designed to keep Wall Street safe, the Pentagon at war and the public distracted.

Conclusion

Three countries are shaking the world in different directions:

In Saudi Arabia, MBS is engaged in a region-shattering shakedown, picking the pockets of Princes for a trillion dollars of unearned and pilfered oil rents to finance more cholera, starvation and mass murder in Yemen and beyond.

In China, there is a Eurasian ‘shakeup’ as Beijing expands modern Silk-Roads everywhere and with everyone to connect markets, develop supply chains and increase prosperity at home and among its trade partners.

And the US just shakes . . . and trembles at its leaders rush to enrich the ultra-rich further, conspire to uncover conspiracies upon plot, scandalize the scandalmongers and tell us that freedom means the freedom to expose and gnaw over the shameful acts of petty perverts while hiding much greater truths and reality. Official truth has become a stinking mound of offal.

One can only hope for a great ‘shaking off’.

James Petras is a Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York. https://petras.lahaine.org

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Pakistan’s Foreign Policy and Current Challenges By Asif Haroon Raja

Pakistan’s Foreign Policy and Current Challenges

Asif Haroon Raja

Overview

Pakistan has, since birth, been faced with one crisis after another. The tense geopolitical environment created by hostile India and unfriendly Afghanistan was the motivating factor which impelled our leaders to accord preference to security over developing institutions and strengthening the economy. Security concerns governed our foreign policy.

Pakistan joined Western pacts mainly to find an umbrella to mitigate its security concerns. But the US never became a trustworthy and sincere ally, as was the case of former the Soviet Union with India. The western pacts proved elusive when Pakistan was truncated in 1971.

India had been working upon East Bengal since 1948 with the aim of subverting the minds of Bengalis and poisoning their minds against people of West Pakistan through an orchestrated subversion plan. It wanted to disprove Two-Nation theory. India in collusion with the former-the Soviet Union and supported by several other countries hatched the gory plan of the dismemberment of Pakistan. After nine months insurgency, Indian military jumped in to cut Pakistan to size and create Bangladesh. Indira Gandhi chortled that Two-Nation theory had been sunk into the Bay of Bengal.

In the aftermath of 9/11, another international conspiracy was hatched to dismember Pakistan. This time the conspiracy was much larger in scope and more dangerous in intent. Pakistan was to be befriended and then cut into four quasi-states. In this, India is being supported by USA, Afghanistan, Britain, Israel and the West in general. The tools in use are TTP, BLA, BRA, BLF, MQM and segment of media bolstered by bloggers, foreign paid NGOs and international media. Daesh is the latest group added to their arsenal.   

The goals are to destabilize, de-Islamise, denuclearize and balkanize Pakistan using covert means and psychological operations.

 

 

 

 

 

Pakistan was made to fight terrorism on its soil, then accused of harboring terrorists in safe havens in FATA and aiding cross border terrorism in Afghanistan, occupied Kashmir and India, and then constantly pressed to do more. The terrorist groups in FATA, Baluchistan were funded, equipped and trained to fight and exhaust Pak security forces. MQM was funded and its militants trained in India to make Karachi lawless.

India and Afghanistan were projected as victims of terrorism and Pakistan as an incubator of terrorism. The covert war launched from Afghan soil in 2002 has incurred a loss of 60,000 fatalities, injuries to tens of thousands, destruction of property, $ 118 billion financial loss and immense social trauma.

Pakistan has come under a foreign debt of $70 billion.  

The US imposed War on Terror has heightened ethnicity, sectarianism, extremism, provincialism, political instability, economic fragility and moral degeneration of society as a whole.

As a result of these frailties, Pakistan which is a nuclear power with robust armed forces that are second to none has abundant resources and resilient manpower, it has become vulnerable to foreign coercion, manipulation, and aggression.

Of all the crisis faced by Pakistan in its 70 years history, the present one is perhaps the most dangerous, both in terms of its nature and its possible consequences. Without a doubt, Pakistan is in the vortex of grave dangers and the country today stands at the cusp of survival and disaster. The Titans that have marked Pakistan as a target are impatient to fragment it. 

Pakistan’s Foreign Policy

Having given the background and overall geopolitical environment, I shall now discuss the five stages through which Pakistan’s foreign policy has moved forward to confront multiple challenges.

Quaid-e-Azam MA Jinnah had spelled out Pakistan’s foreign policy soon after the birth of Pakistan in these words:

 “Our objective should be peace within and peace without. We want to live peacefully and maintain cordial and friendly relations with our immediate neighbors and with world at large. We have no aggressive designs against any one. We stand by the United Nations Charter and will gladly make our contribution to the peace and prosperity of the world.” 

Our foreign policy is one of the friendliness and goodwill towards all the nations of the world. We do not cherish aggressive designs against any country or nation. We believe in the principle of honesty and fair-play in national and international dealings and are prepared to make our contribution to the promotion of peace and prosperity among the nations of the world. Pakistan will never be found lacking in extending its material and moral support to the oppressed and suppressed peoples of the world and in upholding the principles of the United Nations Charter.” 
Pakistan opened diplomatic relations with all the countries of the world except Israel owing to Palestinian dispute.  Successive regimes made concerted efforts to normalize relations with India but failed because of unresolved Kashmir dispute and India not reconciling to the existence of Pakistan. In its desire to become the unchallenged big power of South Asia, India whipped up a frenzy against all its neighbors. It applied multiple pressures on Pakistan and went to war thrice so as to force Pakistan to accept its hegemony and become its vassal state.

Pakistan in search of security and recognition

Pakistan started its journey as a nonaligned nation and remained the member of Non-Aligned Movement from 1947 till 1954. In the first 15 years of Pakistan’s life, the founding leaders remained deeply engrossed in establishing credentials of Pakistan’s statehood in the face of massive propaganda of India that Pakistan was a monstrosity. It was described as a transient phenomenon and Indian economic wizards had given six months life to Pakistan. International recognition was sought and obtained in those agonizing years. 

In its formative years, Pakistan attached importance to relations with Muslim countries and championed Muslim causes. Its efforts to build Muslim unity couldn’t make any headway. It cultivated special ties with Iran, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia.

Pakistan joined Western pacts

Aggressive posturing of India, its expansionist designs and intentions to absorb Kashmir, together with Afghanistan’s enmity, former USSR’s heavy tilt towards India, deepening economic crisis in early 1950s, sense of isolation, and the UN and Commonwealth failing to resolve the Kashmir dispute were some of the reasons which impelled Pakistan to join the US created SEATO and Baghdad Pact/CENTO in 1954/55. Thereon, its foreign policy was governed by the US interests.

Pakistan became part of the US defensive arc stretching to Iran and Turkey to contain the spread of communism in South Asia and the Middle East. Pakistan did so despite the fact that it had no direct clash with USSR, and had to pay a heavy price for it. When Pakistan acted as a conduit in 1971 to bring China closer to the USA, it further antagonized Moscow and it decided to teach Pakistan a lesson.

Alignment with the USA however, helped Pakistan in improving its economy and defense capability phenomenally during the 10-year Ayub’s golden era.

Tilt towards China

After the Indo-Sino border clash in 1962, in the wake of Moscow, Washington and the West providing arms to India at the cost of disturbing the regional military balance, Ayub Khan started tilting towards China and Russia. This move was seen as an act of defiance by the USA and it decided to penalize him. The US discriminatory attitude was discernible in the 1965 War with India when it stopped extending economic and military assistance including the supply of spare parts, whereas Russia kept supplying arms to India.

It is believed that both ZA Bhutto and Sheikh Mujib were cultivated to trigger agitations in both the wings to bring down Ayub regime and then pave the way for the dismemberment of Pakistan in 1971.

Southwestern Asian Identity and policy of Bilateralism

After the 1971 tragedy, ZA Bhutto scrapped SEATO pact and membership of Commonwealth stating that those had proved worthless. He then tried to carve out Southwest Asian identity so as to draw economic strength and security from oil rich Arab States. This tilt towards the Gulf States brought in financial bonanza and job opportunities for Pakistan in the 1970s and also gave an opportunity to Pak military to make inroads into the GCC States. Saudi Arabia never hesitated to extend financial support to Pakistan in its testing times.

Another change in Pakistan’s foreign policy was affected by the Simla agreement in 1972 which led to the policy of bilateralism and non-alignment. Ceasefire line in Kashmir was renamed as LoC and Kashmir issue put on the back burner. India however, maintained its belligerent policy and carried out the nuclear test at Pokhran in August 1974, which impelled ZA Bhutto to go nuclear.

Afghan war (1980-1989)

Pakistan-US relations nosedived when Pakistan under Gen Ziaul Haq was put under sanctions in April 1979 by Carter regime on account of suspicion that it was pursuing nuclear program covertly. However, the Afghan war in the 1980s once again made Pakistan a close ally of USA and was bestowed with $3.5 billion assistance and F-16 jets.

Pakistan had to face Russo-Afghan-India nexus and Al-Zulfiqar terrorism (militant wing of PPP). The Afghan war brought Pakistan coolness in Pak-Iran relations but brought Afghanistan under Mujahideen very close to Pakistan. Both talked of providing strategic depth to each other.

Pakistan’s challenges in Post-cold war era

After the breakup of USSR in 1991 and end of Cold War era, Pakistan was faced with multiple foreign policy issues. The US abandoned Pakistan, imposed sanctions on it under Pressler Amendment and befriended India.

Pakistan was up against Indo-US-Israeli nexus geared toward destroying Kahuta plant.

The other issue was the fallout effects of the Afghan war in the form of Kalashnikov and drug cultures, the load of 3.5 million refugees, the radicalization of the society and sectarianism fomented by Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The other was the armed uprising in occupied Kashmir which forced India to pump in 750,000 security forces to quell the insurgency and to propagate that Pakistan was abetting it.

Pakistan had to bear with the domino effect of Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988).

And lastly, nuclear explosions by the two arch rivals in May 1998. Pakistan’s external climbed up. These challenges made the democratic era weak and uninspiring. Despite being repeatedly betrayed, Pakistan didn’t deem it fit to diversify its foreign policy and kept its hopes alive to get into the good books of USA.

Impact of 9/11

9/11 changed the global politics and Pakistan was once again befriended by the USA and made a coalition partner to fight the global war on terror as a frontline state. Pakistan for a second time shifted all its eggs in the basket of USA.

Between 2004 and 2008, Indo-Pak relations improved as a result of the peace treaty and resumption of dialogue, giving rise to optimism that core disputes will be resolved. Euphoria died down after the Mumbai attacks in November 2008 when India blamed Pakistan. Indo-Pak relations have hit rock bottom after Modi led BJP regime espousing Hindutva came to power in June 2014.

Ongoing fast changing global dynamics and ever growing strategic partnership between USA and India has impelled Pakistan policy makers to revisit the foreign policy and suitably modify it to meet the future challenges.

Pakistan’s current challenges

India has not reconciled to the existence of Pakistan and strives to reduce it to the status of a Satellite State.

India is a strategic partner of the US, Israel, Afghanistan and is the darling of the west. The trio is pursuing common objective of destroying Pakistan.

India is making concerted efforts to destabilize Pakistan through covert war, encircle Pakistan by consolidating its presence in Afghanistan, Central Asian Republics (CARs), building North-South Corridor linking Mumbai with Bandar Abbas; and connecting Chabahar with Afghanistan-CARs.

India is working hard to isolate Pakistan by tarnishing its image and spoiling its relations with Afghanistan, Iran, Gulf States and the US.

Kashmir is an internationally recognized dispute but India stubbornly maintains that it is its integral part well knowing that the Kashmiris hate Indians and want freedom at all cost.

To keep Pakistan on the defensive and force it to forget Kashmir, India is playing terrorism card, Baluchistan and Sindh cards, and water terrorism to bend Pakistan on its knees.

India’s Cold Start doctrine is aimed at offsetting Pakistan’s strategic nuclear doctrine and executing it at a time when the bulk of Pak forces had got pinned down in designated restive areas.

The upturn of Pakistan’s sunk economy and its image, control over energy crisis and terrorism coupled with development works and fast progressing CPEC have increased the anxieties of India. To give vent to its frustrations, it is carrying out unprovoked firing across the LoC and working boundary in Kashmir relentlessly.

For all practical purposes, Pakistan has fallen from the grace of USA and time is not far when it will be once again be ditched and put under harsh sanctions.

Indo-US-Israel agenda of disabling Pakistan’s nuclear program, or as a minimum curtailing its minimum deterrence capability remain unchanged.

Afghanistan under Hamid Karzai remained aligned with India and hostile to Pakistan. Afghan Unity government under Ghani-Abdullah is far worse.

Pak-Iran relations are frosty and practically, Iran is more close to India and Afghanistan.

Net outcome in 2017

Pakistan foreign policy makers are faced with perpetually hostile India, near hostile Afghanistan, and the changed attitude of the US. Washington has callously whipped Pakistan under its ‘do more’ policy and is now hurling warnings. It’s heavy tilt towards India is a matter of anxiety for Pakistan.

Iran nurtures grouses on account of Pakistan’s closeness with Saudi Arabia, and for sending Gen Raheel to Riyadh to head 41-member Sunni Muslim States Alliance.

Warmth in a relationship with the GCC States has diluted because of Pakistan not agreeing to send troops to Saudi Arabia to ward off the threat from Yemen. Saudi-Qatar tiff is another challenge faced by Pakistan since it cannot afford to take sides.

Pakistan has been deliberately kept politically unstable by making it play the game of ladder and snake so that it remains economically dependent. It was pulled down whenever it grew economically strong. That is why it has been lurching from one crisis to another in its 70 years checkered history.

Pakistan can ill-afford political disharmony and disunity at this critical juncture when black clouds are hovering over its horizon.

Geopolitical realities

Pakistan is faced with multiple threats of Indo-US-Afghan covert war, India’s Cold Start Doctrine, the US Af-Pak doctrine, and Hybrid war and all these threats have now become menacing.

The threat to its security has heightened after the signing of three Indo-US defense agreements in 2016 and the US openly expressing its enmity against Pakistan and love for India.

India is getting unnerved on account of high-intensity freedom struggle in occupied Kashmir, which is slipping out of its hands and is endangering the unity of India. India has no other choice except to keep persecuting the Kashmiris ruthlessly, keep the LoC on fire and to diplomatically place Pakistan on the back foot.

Muslim Pakistan, laced with nuclear/missile power and now getting economically strong due to CPEC is unacceptable to USA, India, and Israel. The trio may go to any extent to disrupt CPEC.

Pakistan is faced with the threat of two-front war from east and west, inauspicious southwestern backyard, vulnerable seacoast, not so friendly Gulf States, together with the internal war on terror and internal war on terror

Pakistan’s viable nuclear cum missile capability deters India from waging an open war.

Nuclear factor has compelled India to resort to indirect strategy to weaken Pakistan from within through unrelenting covert war, discredit and isolate it through propaganda and diplomacy, extract its nuclear teeth clandestinely, and then apply the military instrument through Cold Start doctrine.

Having tried out all possible means short of war, the only other option left with enemies of Pakistan is to create political chaos and logjam, paralyze the government machinery and then trigger civil war as in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. Many are suspecting a game plan behind the current political imbroglio.

The success of $21 trillion One-Road-One-belt projects of China hinges on successful completion of CPEC. In view of China’s ambition to become leading economic power and its heavy economic stakes in CPEC, it is bound to come to the aid of Pakistan whenever its security is threatened.

Pakistan is a target and not an ally of USA. Earlier Pakistan gets out of the enchantment of USA, better it will be.

Inferences

Any expectation of goodwill and empathy from India, Afghanistan under Ghani and USA, which in pursuit of their common objectives have been inflicting tens of thousands of cuts on the body of Pakistan and its people, will be foolhardy.

The newly appointed Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif in consultation with the new PM Khaqan Abbasi, CJCSC Gen Zubair Hayat, and Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa need to revisit the foreign policy at the earliest to make appropriate changes after correctly identifying friends and foes and accordingly diversifying the policy to meet the upcoming challenges.

Foreign policy instead of being defensive, apologetic and reactive, should be infused with dynamism and pro-activeness.

The change in foreign policy should not be abrupt, but gradual and orderly without violent fluctuations. The change should be akin to autumn changing into winter, or winter into spring.

While maintaining a working relationship with the USA, Pakistan should draw closer to China, Russia, Central Asia, SCO, and ASEAN.

Pakistan should work hard to bring Iran in the loop of China-Russia peace-talks initiative, possibly draw in Turkey and conjointly work to restore peace in war torn Afghanistan.

Pakistan must strive to establish a friendly regime in Kabul.

Surging Afghan Taliban and not the corrupt and inept unity government in Kabul toeing Indo-US agenda should be kept in the loop.

Pakistan should continue to play a mediatory role in the Iran-Saudi ideological rivalry and in Saudi-Qatar tiff to narrow down their differences and also allay the misperceptions of Gulf States on account of Yemen crisis. It will be unwise to call back Gen Raheel and detach Pakistan from 41-member Muslim Alliance.

CPEC should be made use of as a strong magnet by our foreign policy makers to attract as many nations from Central Asia, South Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe to ward off Indian inspired threat of isolation.

Gwadar-Chahbahar economic rivalry should be converted into an opportunity to complement each other’s strength.

Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan. Comprehensive and pragmatic Kashmir policy should be devised to keep the cause of Kashmir alive.

Conclusion. While many developing countries have raced ahead, Pakistan is still struggling and has neither become an Asian tiger or a secure country. Political parties are behaving irresponsibly and are advised to shun politics of agitation and division and promote the concept of “Unity in Diversity”. Strong and united home front is the best defense against internal and external challenges.

 

The writer is a retired Brig, a war veteran, defense and security analyst, columnist, author of five books. He is Director Measac Research Centre, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Editor-in-chief “Better Morrow’ magazine, editor of website group ‘The Patriots’. asifharoonraja@gmail.com

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